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Maricopa County Confirms Measles Outbreak: Why Herd Immunity is Crucial and How to Protect Yourself


Feb 10, 2024
Maricopa County confirms one case of measles

A case of measles has been confirmed by the Maricopa County Department of Public Health on Saturday morning. The department is currently investigating the case, which involves an international visitor. Doctors at Phoenix Children’s Hospital have been on high alert due to a spike in measles cases across the country and overseas, as well as a low vaccination rate in the Valley.

To reach herd immunity and drastically mitigate the spread of the disease, a region needs at least 95% of its population to be vaccinated. However, a recent report by Arizona’s Family revealed that only 89% of kindergarteners in Arizona are vaccinated against measles. The airborne virus can spread through coughing and sneezing, leaving the air infectious for several hours.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in five people who are infected and aren’t vaccinated are hospitalized. Complications range from mild to severe and can include pneumonia and brain swelling. Dr. Nick Staab, assistant medical director for MCDPH, emphasized that measles is both highly infectious and completely preventable. He encouraged residents to stay up-to-date on their vaccines and watch for symptoms of measles, especially if they are high risk or unvaccinated.

Symptoms consistent with measles can include fever, cough, white spots in the throat, red and/or watery eyes, rash, and runny nose. MCDPH stated that it can take up to 21 days to start showing symptoms and asks individuals who experience any symptoms to self-isolate, stay away from others

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